Monday, August 25, 2003
SCO Customer Support Says Server Down for "Upgrade or Update or Something"
I suggest anyone interested in this story read through the comments from yesterday and today on Groklaw. Some really fine investigation has been done, including this report from John Gabriel, whose own sleuthing yesterday made him wonder about the report about an attack on SCO's servers, so he called SCO today:
"I called the 1(800)SCO-Unix number. First I talked to someone named Michael in Inside Sales. I thought that was odd and I must have hit the wrong button, but no big deal, maybe he can answer the question anyway. So, Michael tells me that they are working on it but he doesn't know what the problem is.
"Ok. I'm not satisfied with that answer, so I ask for tech support. 'They're working on it,' Michael says, 'they won't have the answer either.'
"I thank him for his time, and call again. This time I go into customer support. I ask for tech. support. The very nice woman on the phone says she will transfer me to Michael, in Inside Sales.
"'Wait," I say, 'I want technical support.'
"'Well, he is the technical support.'
"'Are you telling me you only have one tech support person?'
"'Do you have a contract with us?'
"'Well,' she says, 'Michael sells the tech support contracts.'
"'You can try the web.'
"'Your web site is down. Do you know why?'
"'Oh, they took it down for some sort of upgrade or update or something. If you give me your number, I can call you when it comes back up.'
"'No, thank you. I'll just keep checking it. Thanks.'"
This matches what ViaWest tech support indicated to me when I called them yesterday, and while it isn't proof positive, it's at least an indication that there may not be any attack on SCO's website. In time, all the evidence will all be out there. For now, you might like to take a look at the work Groklaw readers have done in the last two days, trying to figure out this mystery. Their best guess matches what the SCO Customer Support person told John Gabriel.
At any rate, as John reports, "So, whether or not it's true, that's definitely what they are telling people."
I'm sure there will be more information in the days ahead, but for now, let's just keep watching.
James Dornan just called them too and he was told the same thing:
"I have just called the 800-SCO-UNIX phone line, pressed option #5, and spoke with a 'Customer Care' person about The SCO Group's web site outage. The lady on the phone was cheerful and nice, all the best things you could expect from a person handling problems. She claimed that 'We upgraded the site this weekend, and are having problems getting it up come back up.' "
So, which story is true, do you suppose?
SCO's MIT Mathematicians Go Poof
Wouldn't you know it? When it rains, it pours. Utah is experiencing flooding rains now too, it seems. What next? A plague of frogs? Seems the MIT mathematicians who allegedly verified the "stolen" lines of code aren't at MIT after all, and SCO is backpedalling, which is causing great puzzlement among some analysts and reporters, according to this story in The Tech:
"The company has so far declined to disclose most of these examples publicly. But it has said that three teams of experts have confirmed its assertions -- including one team of mathematicians from MIT.
" 'They said they hired three separate independent teams of experts to analyze their code, including one from MIT, and that the findings appear to corroborate the fact that the code had been taken from Unix and put into Linux,' said Laura DiDio, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston.
"'It was kind of weird, because they told me they had hired a team at MIT,' said Robert McMillan, a correspondent for the IDG News Service. 'And then they kind of backpedaled.'
". . . 'Chris Sontag told me that [they] had a group of mathemeticians "who were at MIT" working on this,' McMillan wrote in an e-mail after checking his notes. 'In subsequent interviews SCO said that these guys had been at MIT and were no longer there.'
"Paul Hatch, a SCO spokesman, wrote in a statement to The Tech , 'To clarify, the individuals reviewing the code had been involved with MIT labs in the past, but are not currently at MIT. Unfortunately, due to contractual obligations, we cannot specifically name the individuals.' "
Man, those pesky contracts SCO keeps signing that force them not to disclose anything. Maybe they need a new lawyer, who can explain to them that a contract means both sides get to set the terms.
Looks like Ms. DiDio may have cut her vacation off early and is finding this difficult to parse. How about analysts and reporters learn a big lesson from all this: that their job isn't to simply repeat what they are told without investigating and evaluating and asking the other side to comment on a story, so as to get some meat on the story's bones? A lot of them got snookered big time, and their excuse is, "they said"? Clippy tip to Ms. DiDio: It looks like you are trying to decide where to file this. Shall I put it in the "But He Promised He'd Love Me Forever" folder for you?
Aberdeen's Claybrook: SCO Gambled and Lost --
Asks Linux Enterprise Users to Participate in a Survey
No more beating around the bush, Bill. Tell us what you really think about recent events:
"Where else to take a gamble but in Las Vegas? At its user conference there this week, SCO showed off pages of Linux code that it claims was copied from Unix System V. Among the viewers were resellers, part of an effort to pacify some resellers whose customers are concerned about what will happen to them if SCO should lose the lawsuit against IBM. . . .
"The news accounts I've read about this latest exhibition indicate that some resellers believe what they see, even if they don't have a clue what they are seeing. Proving that some of the code in Linux came from Unix System V is going to be a non-trivial exercise; at least one developer told me that BSD 4.1 and 4.2 code made its way into Unix System V while his company was transitioning to Unix System V. In addition, code that appears to be duplicated in Linux may indeed have come from BSD 4.1 or BSD 4.2 and not from System V."
That's just how it opens. He goes on to say that SCO's business was going down for the count long before IBM's "foray into the Linux business".
Also Aberdeen is undertaking a research initiative and would like your participation if you are an enterprise Linux user:
"Aberdeen repeatedly hears CIOs and IT managers asking the same questions -- Who is using Linux and when will it be ready for supporting my mission-critical applications. How much of what I hear is hype and how much is reality? Additionally, one important question hangs over the market: Just how fast is Linux replacing Unix?
"Aberdeen has launched a major research initiative seeking to answer these questions. Led by Bill Claybrook , Research Director, Linux and Open Source, Unix, and Grid Computing, this project will draw on the experiences and intentions of IT buyers and planners, and also examine the issue from the angle of enterprise Linux suppliers.
"Call to Action
"For enterprise Linux users: Aberdeen would like to talk with you to learn more about your experiences?[sic] To participate in this important study, please contact Bill Claybrook at 617-854-5256 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org ."
And then there is the Yankee Group. Ms. DiDio is still on vacation, until September 3, according to a reader. But here is a recent piece of work that Aberdeen still has up on its website with an August 25rd date:
"Corporations should be proactive in seeking indemnification. Review the indemnity clauses in all software contracts. Contact IBM and RedHat and demand answers on the issue of indemnification or contact the reseller directly to determine whether you are covered and to what extent. Many software vendors have a cap on liability coverage. If IBM and RedHat will not provide even baseline indemnification, the Yankee Group advises customers to contact SCO. It doesn't cost anything to have the conversation and determine the cost of their binary Linux license offering. Only after a company reviews its existing contracts and speaks to IBM, RedHat, and SCO will it be in a position to make an informed decision as to whether it should negotiate a license deal with SCO or stand firm and do nothing."
I hope she brought a laptop to the beach, so she can keep tabs on that tidal wave of scorn heading right at her. If she had any true friends at work, they'd have found a way to take that article down, in light of the code fiaSCO at SCOForum, don't you think?
I've got it. Maybe they could pretend they've been DDoS'd or something. Then they could unplug their servers from the internet over a weekend, remove all the evidence and pretend it never existed, and then blame the "attack" on the Linux community. Joke. Joke.